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obedient to the tyrannical proceedings of the bishops. Our author adds, “that he fixed his station in London, refused to go to church, gathered conventicles, and sought to promote schism and confusion in the city. That the bishop finding in him unspeakable disobedience, and he refusing the oath usually tendered by the high commission, (meaning the oath ea officio, by which he would have become his own accuser,) was committed to prison. And,” our learned historian asks, “what could the bishop have done less?” It is not very difficult to find out many things, which his lordship might not have done less than this, even admitting that Mr. Benison was deserving of punishment. Four or five years' confinement in prison is a penalty of no small magnitude, and appears greatly Pro to any crime with which he was charged. And, indeed, Mr. Strype himself intimates as much, in the very next words: “But,” says he, “it seems the bishop overshot himself, and did not proceed so circumspectly in the imprisonment of him for so long a time. For Mr. Benison's cause being brought before the lords of the council, the bishop was judged to have dealt too hardly with him; for which, therefore, he received a reprimand.” Mr. Benison having suffered so long a confinement in prison, applied both to the queen and council; and in the statement of his own case, he declares concerning his marriage, the irregularity of which was the crime alleged against him, “That he had invited only forty persons to the solemnity, and only thirty attended: that he was married in the morning, and according to law: that when the bishop sent for him, charging him with sedition, he cleared himself to his lordship's satisfaction; but that after he went home, he gave a private order under his own hand for him to be apprehended and sent to the Gatehouse; and that he was there shut up in a dungeon eight days, without knowing the cause of his imprisonment.” Moreover, when Mr. Benison was first apprehended and carried to prison, he was lundered of a great part of his household furniture; his yaluable library was utterly spoiled and taken away, and he suffered great losses in various other ways.; Dr. Hammond, and his faithful friend Mr. John Fox, who were both at the wedding, and witnessed the whole proceeding, went to the bishop, and assured him, that he was faultless

* Strype's Aylmer, p. 209, 210, + Ibid. # Ibid. p. 211,212.

in those things charged against him. But his lordship

remained inflexible, and would not release him without such bonds for his good behaviour and future appearance, as the prisoner was unable to procure. Mr. Benison, in his letter to the queen and council, concludes in the following moving language: * - - - *

“Thus I continue,” says he, “ separated from my wife before I had been married two weeks, to the great trouble of her friends and relations, and to the staggering of the patient obedience of my wife. For since my imprisonment, his lordship has been endeavouring to separate us, whom God, in the open presence of his people, has joined together. Wherefore, I most humbly beseech your godly honours, for the everlasting love of God, and for the pity you take upon God's true protestants and his poor people, to be a means that my pitiful cry may be heard, and my just cause with some credit be cleared, to the honour of God and her majesty, whom for ever I esteem more than all the bishop's blessings or bitter cursings: and that I, being now half dead, may recover again to get a poor living with the little learning which God has given me, to his glory, to the discharge of some part of my duty, and to the profit of my country.” This was Mr. Benison's impartial statement of his own case; upon the reception of which, the lords of the council were so moved, that they sent the bishop the following letter: 4

“Hampton-court, November 14, 1584. “Whereas, Barnaby Benison, minister, has given us to “understand, the great hinderance he has received by your “hard dealing with him, and his long imprisonment, for “which if he should bring his action against you of false “imprisonment, he woul ly law recover damages, which “would touch your lordship's credit. : We have, therefore, “ thought fit to require your lordship to use some consi“deration towards him, in giving him a reasonable sum of “money to repay the wrong you have done unto him, “ and to supply the hinderance he hath incurred by your “hard dealings with him. Therefore, praying your “lordship to deal with the poor man, that he may have “occasion to turn his complaint into a good report unto

• Ms. Register, p. 591. + Ibid. p. 589.

“us of your charitable dealing. We bid you farewell. “Signed,

“BRoMLEy, Chan. FRANCIS KNoLLEs,
“WIL. BURGHLEY, JAMEs CR oft,
“AMB. WARwick, WALTER MILDMAY.
“FR. Bedford, CHRIST. H. Atton,

“Robert Leicester, FR. WALSINGHAM.”
“CHARLEs How ARD,

Upon the bishop's reception of the above letter, he returned this answer:—“I beseech your lordships to “consider, that it is a rare example thus to press a bishop, “for his zealous service to the queen and the peace of the “church, especially as the man was found worthy to be “committed for refusing to go to church, and other instances “ of nonconformity, to say nothing of his contemptuous “behaviour towards me. Nevertheless, since it pleaseth “your lordships to require some reasonable sum of money, “I pray you consider my poor estate and great charges, “together with the great vaunt the man will make of his “conquest over a bishop. I hope, therefore, your lordships “will be favourable to me, and refer it to myself, either to “bestow upon him some small benefice, or otherwise to help “ him as opportunity offers. Or if this shall not satisfy the “man, or not content your lordships, leave him to the trial “ of the law, which, I hope, will not be so plain for him as “ he taketh it. Surely, my lords, this and the like must “greatly discourage me in this poor service of mine in the “commission; wherein, if I seem remiss, I pray you impute “it to the troubles and infirmities of old age.”

The manner in which the bishop answered the accusations against him, is a sufficient evidence that his conduct could not be defended, What reparation Mr. Benison obtained for the injurious treatment he received, or whether any, does not appear. But he was certainly too wise to go {; law with a bishop of the high commission court, who having but little conscience, exercised much cruelty; and who, notwithstanding his poor estates and great charges, left behind him at his death several very large estates, properties out upon mortgage, and above sixteen thousand pounds in money. These were immense riches in those days. Mr. Strype; represents Aylmer's ill treatment of Mr. Benison as " * MS. Register, p. 589. + Strype's Aylmer, p. 172, 194.—Neal's Puritans, vol. i. p. 384, f Strype's Aylmer, p. 205. - -

the slander of his enemies; as if his lordship had dealt with him only according to his deserts; but what degree of justice there is in this representation, the foregoing statement of facts will best determine.

WILLIAM Negus was minister at Leigh in Essex, but suspended by Bishop Aylmer in the year 1584. Mr. Negus gives us the following account of this ecclesiastical censure: —“The cause of my suspension,” says he, “was this: being convened before the bishop at Waltham, and he demanding whether I had worn the surplice since my coming to Leigh, my answer was, that I had it not, so I had not refused it. †. was none offered me, nor was there a surplice in the parish. He then inquired whether I would wear it, when there was one provided. My answer was, that I desired his favour to proceed in my ministry, until a surplice was H. and that he knew my unwillingness to wear it.

e was not satisfied with this answer, but urged me to say that I would, or that I would not wear it. But I abiding b my former answer, and desiring that I might be accepted, he thus concluded: “Seeing you will not promise to wear it, we suspend you until you do promise.’” The good man was thus silenced for refusing to wear the clerical garment.

Having received the episcopal censure, twenty-eight of his parishioners, who subscribed themselves his hungry sheep now without a shepherd, signed a most affectionate and pressing letter, earnestly beseeching him to wear the surplice. Though they wished that the linen garment were utterly abolished, they anxiously desired him, for the sake of their advantage, to conform. But he found it impossible, with a good conscience, to wear that garment in the public worship of God, which to him appeared wholly founded in superstition, and the very badge of antichrist; and so he quietly submitted to be deprived. #

John STRoud was minister first at Yalding, then at Cranbrook in Kent. He was a man of good learning, most exemplary piety, peaceable behaviour, and a faithful, laborious, and very useful preacher; but was repeatedly persecuted for nonconformity. He entered upon his troubles

* Ms. Register, p. 568. + Ibid.

about the year 1567. Having had in his possession the Book of Ecclesiastical Discipline, he was cited before the chancellor to the Bishop of Rochester; and confessing the fact, that such a book had been in his hands, the chancellor said, “it contains treason, rebellion, and heresy,” and immediately committed him to prison. Mr. Stroud observing that he hoped he was not deserving of such hard usage, wished to give sufficient security, but his offer was utterly disregarded. Upon his release from prison, he was forbidden to preach, and even to teach children, within the parish of Yalding or elsewhere, and commanded to depart out of the diocese in forty days. This unfeeling and inhuman sentence was sent to the churchwardens of Yalding, with a strict command to see it fully executed. But an impartial statement of his case being laid before the Archbishop of Canterbury, the cruel sentence was in part reversed. By the license, and under the seal, of the archbishop, he obtained liberty to continue a twelvemonth; when he returned to Yalding, hoping to proceed in his ministry without further molestation. His liberty, however, was of very short continuance. For in a few months, he was cited, with several others, to appear at Rochester; and the citation was ordered to be read publicly in the church at Yalding. Upon his appearance in the court, the churchwardens were first called and examined. The chief article of their examination was, “whether any child or children had been baptized in their parish, when the order prescribed and appointed in the Book of Common Prayer was not in all points observed; and whose children they were, who were godfathers and godmothers, and whether they answered according to the form required in the said book?” But the churchwardens were too wise to accuse their own minister, and they were all dismissed. Afterwards, both minister and churchwardens were again brought into the bishop's court, at Rochester. The churchwardens were first examined as before; and in addition to the former interrogatory, their examination was extended to the following articles:—“Whether any one preached at Yalding without a license —Whether any preached who were forbidden, and commanded to leave the diocese ?— Whether any such preachers have any unlawful or suspected books, leading to the contempt or derogation of the Book of Common Prayer, or of any orders, rites, or ceremonies of the church, as by law established 2 or who hath in any, public meeting or private conventicle set forth any such

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